Ether, Ethereum Classic See Volatile Trading Amid Successful Ethereum Merge

Crypto markets are mostly flattish over the past 24 hours, but the action in ether (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) has been volatile early Thursday following the successful Merge event.

Traders of futures tracking the two tokens took on some $80 million in cumulative losses, with ether futures seeing $67 million in liquidations, according to the data.

Ether swung between the $1,570 and $1,620 levels, with funding rates hitting sixteen-month highs as shorts – or bets against a price rise – gained favor among traders.

Funding rates are periodic payments made by traders based on the difference between prices in the futures and spot markets. Depending on their open positions, traders will either pay or receive funding.

The payments ensure there are always participants on both sides of the trade. Traders use sophisticated strategies to collect funding rates while hedging losses due to price movements – which creates market dynamics that contribute to price volatility.

ETC futures, on the other hand, saw some $22 million in liquidations – a higher-than-usual figure. The Ethereum Classic blockchain continues to operate as a proof-of-work (PoW) network, and some are betting on its long-term rise versus the now proof-of-stake (PoS) ETH.

"Post-Ethereum Merge, the Ethereum PoW miners will need to mine other coins since Ethereum is moving to PoS," explained Hosam Mazawi, a co-founder at non-fungible token project Snook, in a Telegram message last week. "The options are Ethereum Classic or some new Ethereum fork."

Prices of ETC surged to above $39 this morning before traders took profits, sending ETC back to $35.50. The price had bounced back to $38.50 at press time. The tokens have risen about 16% in the past two weeks even as prices in broader crypto markets are roughly flat.

Hash rates on ETC – a measure of computing power on any blockchain network – surged on Thursday following the Merge, suggesting miners were already shifting resources to the network. Data from tracking tool 2miners show Ethereum Classic hash rates hit 273 terahashes per second (Th/S) in European afternoon hours, continuing a climb from last week.